Enhanced recovery programmes for lower limb arthroplasty in the UK.

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Introduction Enhanced recovery programmes (ERPs) reduce patient morbidity and mortality, and provide significant cost savings by reducing length of stay. Currently, no uniform ERP guidelines exist for lower limb arthroplasty in the UK. The aim of this study was to identify variations in ERPs and determine adherence to local policy. Methods Hospitals offering elective total knee arthroplasty (TKA) and total hip arthroplasty (THA) (23 and 22 centres respectively) contributed details of their ERPs, and performed an audit (15 patients per centre) to assess compliance. Results Contrasting content and detail of ERPs was noted across centres. Adherence to ERPs varied significantly (40-100% for TKA, 17-94% for THA). Analysis identified perioperative use of dexamethasone, tranexamic acid and early mobilisation for TKA, and procedures performed in teaching hospitals for THA as being associated with a reduced length of stay. Conclusions This study highlights variation in practice and poor compliance with local ERPs. Given the proven benefits of ERPs, evidence-based guidelines in the context of local skillsets should be established to optimise the patient care pathway.

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